What lessons from our digital spaces might we apply as we consider moving back into physical spaces? How might we think creatively about entirely new, hybrid spaces?
What will the hybrid “Digical” or “Phygital” branded environment, sales center, briefing center, or innovation lab look like in 2021 and beyond?
We’ve all learned and grown from our time spent in a mostly digital world. New ways of working, communicating, and collaborating have emerged out of necessity and flourished. Yet, as the pendulum begins to swing back toward the possibility of picking up our work in-person, how do we strike a balance between the nimble efficiency of remote work and the human touch of face-to-face interaction?
Leaders at organizations across the board have pondered this balance over the last year, none more so than those whose work thrives on interpersonal connection. For those organizations in particular, embracing the trifecta of virtual, on-site, and hybrid spaces presents new opportunities for reaching audiences. 2021 is the year to consider how best to employ these options – and to experiment with Digical (digital first, physical second) or Phygital (physical first, digital second) modes of working and communicating.
Below we offer some tools as a starting point for designing your own approach to this balance, whatever your organization’s needs may be.
Digital first, physical second
The customer journey starts as soon as you connect with a prospect. In so many cases, this initial connection is virtual. By making a good first impression in a virtual space, you will set your team up for success as they transition to face-to-face meetings. Explore the tools below as a starting point for your own digital first, physical second approach.
Show Some Personality
While some intangibles of in-person connection can’t be replicated in virtual meetings, we’ve all seen the benefits these spaces provide. Without traveling, parking, and navigating potentially unfamiliar locations, you can focus on the meeting at hand rather than how you are going to get to the next one during rush hour. Still, the seemingly endless onslaught of meetings can quickly turn monotonous, so developing ways to stand out and win over participants’ attention is paramount to your virtual success. A warm personal story, poignant question, or relatable anecdote are all good options.
Energize Your Virtual Space
“Find a way to capture and engage your audience.” Dan Abramson of SAS Institute, a leading analytics company with an established Executive Briefing center in North Carolina, shares that his company hosted a virtual midday concert and interview with Keith Urban attracting over 10,000 attendees. “It was a great way to shake up the back-to-back Zoom meetings and also fantastic for internal camaraderie.” Abramson also creates short corporate videos with music and images to keep the energy up on Zoom meetings as he lays out sales and marketing strategies for his team of 100 execs.
See It In 3D
3D virtual tours are an easy way to bridge the gap between virtual and physical spaces. Companies like MatterPort and EyeSpy360 have shown that 3D tours raise engagement over 2D imagery. This semi-facilitated approach to virtual tours creates a more engaged prospect by putting them in the driver’s seat and allowing them to explore your space. By offering an interactive and collaborative experience, you make room for the spontaneous interactions that so often fall through the cracks in purely virtual approaches.
Content At Your Fingertips
Since so many prospect and customer interactions occur outside traditional business settings, it is vital to develop content that flexibly serves your goals. With a wealth of well-organized content at your fingertips, meeting the customer at the appropriate touchpoints in their journey becomes simple. Digital Asset Management platforms such as Brandfolder, Beam, and Bynder provide a central location to manage all brand assets. These systems promote asset usage and internal collaboration, enable speedy asset discovery, protect brand integrity, and scale naturally for growing organizations.
Physical first, digital second
We all understand the importance of virtual and digital tools, but the power of making a connection in-person can’t be forgotten. These IRL (In Real Life) tools can be a compelling first touchpoint as you develop new customer relationships.
Re-Envision your Physical Space
According to the Deloitte Workforce Strategies for PostCovid Recovery Report, it’s estimated that close to 3 billion people, more than four out of every five workers in the global workforce, have been affected by stay at home orders.
Responding to this fact of life with new workforce strategies has also inspired companies to rethink their briefing and sales strategies. Companies are redesigning their corporate spaces, including briefing, sales, and visitors centers. How might we redesign these spaces to foster collaboration while considering sanitation, distancing, and the psychological impact of the pandemic?
Projects can take anywhere from 9 months to 18 months to develop, design and build. While we don’t have a crystal ball to predict when our customers and prospects will return-in-person, lots of organizations are taking advantage of the down-time and preparing.
Hit the Road
Many companies have one or two briefing locations, sales centers, or visitor centers, often near their corporate HQ. However, these require travel, and may not return to full-time operation for some time.
With that, remote and traveling centers may be a great option to leverage a Digical or Phygital approach. Remote and traveling experiences can be created in boxcars, shipping containers, or other mobile standalone structures. These pop-up approaches are best supported by virtual campaigns, reaching prospects and customers through email, social media, or even direct mail. Creating a new website or landing page to hype up your experience can enhance your reach as well.
More tools to support your Digical or Phygital approach
These tools can help you succeed whether you make a digital or physical experience the first step on your customer journey.
Manage Your Meetings
Management software such as JiffleNow and VisitOps offers comprehensive Meeting Automation Platforms to automate the scheduling, management, and analysis of in-person and virtual meetings. Behind the scenes, these tools can help you keep track of how well the other tools in your kit are performing, and help you decide if it’s time to double down or shake things up.
Make It Personal
Whether you are updating your virtual content or your physical spaces, invest in personalization.
Digital tools make virtual customization easy, while physical spaces can be transformed with updateable wall graphics and monitors. The key in this customization is to align with your prospects and their specific business needs. Whether in-person or digital, your approach should never feel cut-and-paste. Always include your audience members in presentation materials, and incorporate logos and images that align with the customer’s brand identity. A personal take away, sent or given in person, can offer a memorable touch.
Will your company go Digical or Phygital?
Whichever path you choose, blending physical and digital experiences to create immersive interactions offers companies, and their prospects and customers, the best of both worlds. We believe this hybrid approach, combining the nimble flexibility of the virtual world, and the human touch of in-person connection, is here to stay.
As a full-service design studio, Luci Creative empowers organizations to connect with their customers through immersive experiences and spaces. We work closely with organization stakeholders to understand their needs and illuminate unforeseen solutions. Our close relationship with our sister company Ravenswood Studio, a custom fabrication shop, ensures the spaces we develop are feasible and realized on time and on budget.
Building relationships with prospects, clients, vendors, and partners is essential if you want to move the dial! By leveraging in-person and virtual engagement with your audience, you will elevate your brand, and building long term loyalty.
Whether you need immersive brand moments, custom spaces that foster connection, socially distant spaces, or easily sanitized materials, Luci Creative can help you realize your re-imagined space – one that is comfortable for both you and your customers.